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Thread: YeOldeStonecats Wireless Networking Tips...

  1. #1
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Somewhere along the shoreline in New England

    Post YeOldeStonecats Wireless Networking Tips...

    I'm listing some tips that I've gathered over the years...of working on peoples wireless networks.

    *It's generally a good idea to have the latest firmware on your router/AP. In addition to bug fixes, security flaws, performance boosts, added security can get increased compatibility with newer wireless chipsets.

    *All your Windows Updates...especially with Windows XP service pack 2...which improved the built in wireless configuration utility.

    *Ease of use...I prefer to use the wireless config utility built into Windows XP...over the ones built into the drivers of wireless NICs. I've had good luck with laptop travels between 20 different wireless networks all the time..I often swap between 3x different PCMCIA wireless NICs.

    *Reliability...Make your own unique SSID. I often see issues if people leave the default SSID...if they have a common brand router like a Linksys. Because..your neighbor might also have a Linksys, so your computer won't know which to connect to. Or bounce back and forth between them. Or..when you're at some other wireless can't connect because your PC found another "Linksys" network somewhere....and...well..just make your own unique SSID.

    *Security...change the default Admin password of your router/AP

    *Security...It's generally a good idea to secure your network...depending on your location, where you live, how close neighbors are, etc. Don't forget...if someone latches onto your wireless network..they are on your actual network. So..if you have file sharing going on...they can pick it up. If you have <blank> administrator passwords on your PCs (which you should NEVER do)...they can get to everything even if you don't have file sharing enabled. And..if their computer is infected with a worm/trojan/malware/virus/etc...many of them spread themselves across networks. So knowingly or unknowningly..they can infect your network.
    MAC filtering...while it can be gotten past by the determined will keep out the average people. No performance loss.
    WEP security is old, outdated, easily cracked by tools in under a minute, and has high overhead so it can slow you down. Commonly found in older B adapters.'s better than nothing...will keep the average person out, and will keep the unknowing from accidently connecting to your network.
    WPA and WPA2 are newer, much easier to setup, lower overhead so less of a performance hit, and more difficult to crack. They are found with newer G and N wireless...some B wireless can support it.

    *Troubleshooting...if you're having a problem connecting...a few things to try.
    Different Channel...most wireless routers/APs come pre-set to use channel 6. Some of the newer gear has an "auto" feature to automatically find the channel with the least interferance. If you are having connectivity problems...can't pull an IP address when you attempt to connect..or it's painfully slow...try changing the channel to 1 or 11. You only have to do this on your router/AP..the clients will automatically adjust. Often this is needed in you live in an area where there are lots of other wireless networks nearby...several wireless networks on the same channel will often interfere with each other. Sometimes the "auto select" of an access point will figure it out on its own and work..other times manually setting it is better.
    Turn off proprietary "turbo" modes...many routers come with their own performance boosting...which really only works in you use their own matching wireless NICs. Often this "turbo" mode is enabled by default. If you have a different brand wireless NIC'll often have problems..can't connect, can't pull an IP, or it's painfully slow. Log into the routers web admin and disable this turbo/performance mode.
    Latest drivers for your wireless network card...similar reasons to having the latest firmware for your router/AP.
    Location of your router/AP. Everyones local environment is different..try different spots, move the antennas, higher is often better.

    Hope these help!
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
    Guinness for Strength!!!

  2. #2
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Somewhere along the shoreline in New England
    Security...if you're suspicious of unwanted activity on your wireless LAN....AirSnare can help you located intruders. It's a wireless intrusion detection system.
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
    Guinness for Strength!!!

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